Teacher among the first to go for national certification

Brooke Adrian, who will be teaching sixth grade at Nimitz Middle School in the fall, is one of more than 90 Ector County ISD instructors taking advantage of National Board Certification offered through the district and the Permian Strategic Partnership.

Issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, it takes one to three years to achieve. It means more money for teachers, but also better student outcomes.

In December 2020, the Permian Strategic Partnership made a multi-million dollar investment into the teachers of ECISD in partnership with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The partnership allows 300 teachers in ECISD to undergo the process to become a National Board certified teacher,” Muri said in a previous Odessa American article.

“These funds will allow us to provide coaching and mentoring and all the supports that our teachers need to go through that process. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has been around now for many years in the United States. They were developed in the late ‘80s and began certifying teachers in the early ‘90s,” Muri said.

He said ECISD has no National Board certified teachers yet. Muri was certified in the ‘90s. In Texas, there are about 950 National Board certified teachers and about 150,000 nationwide.

At the end of the day, Adrian said it’s student growth, how much you want your students to grow, honing your skills and refining your art. She added teachers who have earned national certification can help not only students, but colleagues.

Adrian has been in education for six years, but there was a teacher in her. She used to play school with her dad and create worksheets. She said teaching is fun and rewarding.

She had been in banking previously and taught in Florida. She moved to Odessa after Googling top teacher salaries.

When Muri announced the chance to get nationally certified, Adrian jumped at it.

Executive Director of Talent Development Ashley Osborne said in an email that once certified, there is an additional financial incentive. The State of Texas recognizes teachers with their National Board Certification through the Teacher Incentive Allotment. Any teacher with their National Board Certification will also receive a Recognized designation on their Texas educator certificate. With the Recognized designation, teachers will earn an additional $3,000 to $9,000 each year.

“This is a great program and I don’t think that it’s as well known here,” Adrian said. “Now it’s becoming more so, but I think the difference is that ECISD has such a vision for the future of students and they have so many opportunities. But the teachers have to understand the importance and the value of these things, especially teachers that love teaching and they want to be the best at what they are. That’s what (national certification is) all about because there’s just a handful of teachers that are (nationally) certified,” Adrian said.

She added that it is the same gold standard as a nationally certified doctor or lawyer.

“… So the benefit of it I mean of course there’s the monetary, but again you’re at the top. There’s nothing higher man. It’s the gold standard. It’s the highest accolade a teacher can attain. Many districts often have the stipend as high as a PhD. So when you think about that, it’s for teachers that not only you’re helping your students and you’re helping your district, but ECISD is providing this opportunity and they’re actually paying for it, which is absolutely phenomenal …,” Adrian said.

Osborne said the partnership with National Board affords ECISD teachers many benefits.

“They will have targeted and personalized support from a mentor and facilitator. In addition, we will create campus cohorts of folks so teachers have the support and networking of their colleagues. In addition, there are four component submissions that are required to pursue certification. Each of the component submissions is $475 for a total of $1,900. This cost is covered through the Permian Strategic Partnership grant. Perhaps one of the best benefits to teachers is the professional learning experience they receive. They truly become reflective practitioners through this process and grow immensely in their craft,” Osborne said in an email.

Adrian noted that there is a lot of writing involved.

“We’ve done two components this year. And then next year, two components also so four components total. The submission is the summer, and then next year will be the other two components,” she added.

Osborne said ECISD has approximately 2,000 teachers among its 4,200 employees.

“We believe that 90+ interested at this point is an awesome start and we expect as we get closer to implementation that we will have more,” she wrote.

“When schools implement a cohort model it means that they are going to incorporate the National Board Certification process into the culture of the campus. Supports will be designed to facilitate not only individual teachers but the group as a whole. Time may even be carved out of the school day periodically to devote to the certification process,” Osborne noted.

An information session was recently held and there will be one in July to get people thinking about pursuing certification.

“I’m working with the National Board folks to hold two networking events in the fall for teachers,” Osborne said.

She added that ECISD will continue to support teachers in pursuit of National Board Certification as it is part of the district’s strategic plan, The Future is Now.